Tips for the Busy Mom

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sejoyia, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CocoRoonsAtWalmart  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

I don’t know about you, but I’m nearing my busiest time of the year. Getting ready for a move, the husband starting a new job, homeschooling a fourth grader, working from home, upcoming holidays and events approaching, plus tending to my everyday responsibilities can leave me feeling flustered and overwhelmed. I find that if I do a few key things to keep myself organized and healthy, I’m a much happier busy mom. I know I can’t be alone in this, so I thought I’d share some Tips for the Busy Mom.

Use a Day Planner or Calendar

I can’t live without my day planner. No joke. Everything from bills, work due dates, meal plans, appointments, extracurriculars, homeschool objectives, business meetings, vacations, reminders, etc goes into my planner. It holds me accountable and keeps me on track. I set aside time on Sunday evening to plan out the week. And let’s be honest, there’s no way I could remember it all and I don’t pretend to. My planner goes with me everywhere. 

Use a To Do or Check List

Again with accountability and keeping me focused and on task, a To Do List is essential for me. I make my daily To Do List each morning, or sometimes if I am really on top of my game, the night before. And I have to be honest, checking things off my To Do List is one of my favorite things ever. 

Stay Hydrated

From one coffee lover to another, I get you girl. But remember that it’s important to get in lots of H2O throughout your busy day. Not only is water intake healthy for your body, but it will also keep your energy up and help with lethargy. 

Treat Yourself

I love to snack. Almost as much as I love my child. I often snack during the day while I’m working, schooling, or running errands. So finding healthy snacks options is a must for me. One of my favorite go-to snacks is  Sejoyia Coco-Roons from Walmart. These delicious superfood cookies are organic, gluten free, vegan, non-GMO, paleo, and made without refined sugar. Plus they are made with a handful of ingredients that you know, can pronounce and provide nutritional value. I literally have zero guilt snacking on these guys and they are delicious, y’all! With both Brownie and Lemon Pie Coco-Roons, you can’t go wrong. Brownie Coco-Roons are made with the finest raw, organic cocoa and has a delicious deep, rich flavor and Lemon Pie is light and refreshing. I keep them in my purse, at my desk, and they go with us on hikes and trips. 

Are you a snacker like me? Then get your Coco-Roons on, girl, and continue to slay your day.

Take advantage of the $0.75 off ibotta offer when you purchase one Sejoyia Coco-Roons (Brownie and Lemon Pie) at Walmart on the gluten free aisle, while supplies last! Also, get an additional $.50 for redeeming the rebate on 3 different shopping trips! 

There you have it… four Tips for the Busy Mom. I hope they help you!

What gets you through your busy day? What’s your favorite healthy snack you treat yourself to?

Embrace Motherhood In This Season

I remember that from a very young age I wanted to be a mother. At 5, I knew I was going to have lots of children and by 8 I knew that I also wanted to adopt. I had a plan, y’all. And it was to be the very best mother I could possibly be. Now as an adult, I have come to find that your life doesn’t always go according to your plan. In fact, most times it doesn’t go at all the way you had planned. And that’s okay.

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Throughout my 8 years of being a mom, I am finally starting to embrace motherhood in this season. I think this means something different for every mother. We are all in different seasons of motherhood, and I am coming to find that they don’t last very long. The seasons of motherhood move rather quickly. Sometimes while we are in the rough, sleepless seasons, we don’t realize how fast they really go until we are looking back on them.

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For a long time, if things didn’t go according to my plan, I would be devastated, annoyed, angry, stressed, worrisome… anything but happy. As a little girl making my lifelong plans, I had no idea that having babies would be such a struggle for me. The thought of infertility didn’t even cross my mind.  So going through multiple miscarriages was a shock. And it certainly wasn’t a part of my plan.

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Over the years, I put a lot of pressure on myself… for multiple things but mostly due to the fact that my womanly parts weren’t working the way I wanted them to. I wanted lots of babies… all close in age. Why couldn’t I have that? Any time I saw pregnancy announcements, I would secretly wish that it were me announcing a new bundle of joy. I’ve cried a lot of tears. I’ve mumbled lots of angry words. I’ve questioned God. I’ve even yelled at Him a few times. “I’m a great mother, God! Why does this keep happening to me?!” And through all of that sadness and anger and confusion, I was missing something super important.

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Gratefulness. I was missing the whole point. Gratefulness that I AM a mother. That I was able to experience pregnancy and child birth and all the firsts. And that I’m not defined by how many earthy babies I have. And I’m not defined by my fertility journey. And I’m not even defined by my broken plans. I am a mother to a beautiful, smart, healthy, passionate, creative, funny, loving little girl. And I need to embrace that… and be grateful.

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I need to embrace that I am her momma. Embrace that she is at such a fun and quirky age. Embrace that I know more now than I did as a new mom. Embrace that we get to share in this journey together. So instead of focusing on how my life isn’t going according to my original plan, this life I have is still so good. This life I have is still so sweet and full of blessings. That needs to be my focus. Because if I am busy being upset about what I don’t have, I will miss out on what I do have. And I have a whole lot, y’all. This sweet girl made me a mother. My heart is so full because of her.

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Embrace the season you are in, mommas. We are so blessed to play this role. Remember that this time we have with our babies is fleeting. Embrace the moments. Be present. Breathe it all in. And be grateful.

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Photo credit: Hovering Heart Photography

Dresses/Jewelry: Forever 21

 

Three Tips for Drinking More Water

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and DripDrop®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DrinkDripDrop #DripDropHydrates http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

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Friends. I have a confession. I don’t drink nearly enough water. I am a HUGE soda drinker (Diet Coke with ice and a cute straw please!) and I know that it’s time to cut it out of my diet. But guys. It’s really hard for me. So I’ve decided to focus on my soda-kicking goal a little differently. Instead of focusing on cutting soda out, I’m focusing on adding more water in. And I wanted to share these three tips for drinking more water, which has really helped me cut the soda out. 

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1. Add DripDrop to your water.

I have ruined my tongue with soda. It’s true. Water just seems so boring to me now (rude, I know). So I add a packet of DripDrop to my water bottle and it adds a delicious lemon (or berry!) flavor that helps me chug that water a bit faster. Plus, DripDrop has 2-3 times the electrolytes and half the calories as sports drinks, hydrating you 34% better than water. Win-win for me (and you)! Find it in your local CVS Pharmacy in the baby aisle. Use this coupon for $1 off while supplies last (1/25/15-2/29/15). 

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It’s even safe for kids (over one) and my daughter can add the DripDrop packet to her water all on her own. Encouraging health and independence… #momwin. 

2. It’s all about the bottle.

I know, I know. You heard it’s all about the ‘base’… but actually, my friends, it’s all about the bottle. Get yourself a water bottle (and everyone else in your family for that matter) and keep it full and with you all the time. Let me tell you that drinking water is no big thang for my daughter now that she’s got a Frozen water bottle.

Going to the grocery store? Take the water bottle. Running out the door for a playdate? Don’t forget the water bottle. Leaving for work? Grab that water bottle! You are less likely to pull through the drive-thru or stop at a convenience store for a soda or other sugary drink if you have your drink on you already. 

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3. Add fruit to your water.

Not only does adding fruit to your water make it pretty, but it also infuses it with nutrients and yummy flavor. It’s easy to toss in a couple lemon, lime, or cucumber slices! I even love strawberries or raspberries in my water.

I fill up a pitcher of water and ice and fruit each morning and keep it in the fridge to refill my water bottle throughout the day. Then I add some DripDrop to my drink and BAM! I’ve got a pretty, nutritious, hydrating beverage. Soda shmoda, am I right?

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 I’m really hoping that in a few weeks, it’s no big thang and I have soda kicked to the curb. Let’s face it… us busy mommas need to take the time to take care of ourselves too. And one thing we can surely do to be more healthy is drink more water and to encourage our family to do so as well. 

Anyone want to join me in drinking more water?! I hope these three tips help you!

Five Steps to a Healthier You

Good morning mommas! I am so excited to introduce you to our new Fitness and Health Contributor here at Mine for the Making. Shannon of Fitness Food Diva has a passion for healthy foods and healthy life choices and it shines through on her blog. I am so happy she is apart of our Creative Team this year!

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Five steps to a healthier YOU starts by getting the idea out of your head that you need to DIET to get healthy and/or loose weight.  “Diets”, as it has been said over and over are so restrictive.  As soon as I here the word “diet” I cringe.  No one wants to omit everything in life that is good and puts a smile on your face while you eat it.  Those moments must exist.  Food is crucial to a healthy lifestyle, so do not deprive yourself.  Being healthy consists of setting goals, making good choices (not perfect), getting rest, staying active, and incorporating more water into your day.  These simple yet attainable steps can be accomplished in making a healthier you.

  5 Steps to a Healthier You

1. Setting goals:  This is such an important part of everyday life, from setting simple daily goals like; reading every night to your kids, paying your bills, calling a friend, etc.  Goals are meant to be reached and acquire a feeling of accomplishment.  Each goal needs to be obtainable and realistic wether it is personal or family oriented.  If you are looking to set goal for a healthier you, make them real to your character.  Write them down, look at them and hold yourself accountable for them.  If you are setting goals for working out, then start with something simple like, join a gym, get familiar with the equipment by asking one of the employees to show you around (if you don’t have a personal trainer).  Try to go to the gym a few times a week and then set another goal for more.  Goals are meant to be set, worked towards and accomplished, which in turn provide us a sense of happiness and accomplishment and a healthier you.

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2. Making Good Choices:  This is a hard step and I understand that.  Making good (healthier) choices when it come to food and snacks is not always easy.  We think it is, but when you are in a hurry fast food is always so much easier than going to the store and making dinner but, this is where setting goals can help.  Plan out what you need for the week to provide yourself the healthier choices in meals and snacks so you are less tempted for the fast food or sugary snacks.  Instead of eating out every night, choose to eat in and make a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner a several times a week.  Try to avoid the high calorie snacks that spike your sugar levels and then leave you crashing, they are not your friend.  Snacking needs to turn into “GRAZING”, eating something “good”every three hours.  For example choose a Quest Protein bar instead of a candy bar or granola bar.  Eat pretzels in place of chips, choose whole wheat crackers rather than white flour cracker.  Replace white rice with quinoa or brown rice.  Drink lemon water or crystal light rather than reaching for high sugar sodas or sports drinks.   Try more fruits and vegetables in lieu of candy or cookies.  Staying away from high fructose corn syrup, which is in a lot of foods is a really simple choice that will help towards a healthier you.

3. Getting Rest:  We always here “we need eight hours of sleep” to be fully rested.  I admit, it is hard to go bed at night especially when there are only so many hours in the day to get things done.  I know I am always trying to fit a million things in after I get off work before going to bed and my night continue to get longer and the morning begins to come quicker.  Sleep is so important to our recovery from the day and how we are able to attack the next day.  When we feel tired and sluggish that is when we start to slip on our goals and go for the bad food choices rather than the good, which really often make us feel worse.  Eight hours is hard and sometimes just unrealistic, but it is essential to rebooting our bodies to a healthier you.

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4. Staying Active:  Getting out everyday and just moving can make us feel better and keep our heart and mind strong.  Wearing a pedometer can help you set goals to move a certain amount of steps each day, which can be at home or work.  If you sit at a computer all day it is good to step away and relax your eyes and stretch your body out.  Staying active doesn’t mean you have to run 5 miles everyday or do hours of yoga, it simply means “move!”  Play with your kids, wash your car, vacuum, walk the dog.  Being sedentary is not an option, we must find a way to get our bodies moving to provide a healthier you. 

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5. Drinking more water:   Water is truly a big must for me.  I try to drink a gallon of water a day ( a bit obsessive), but trying to drink one 8 ounce glass of water every hour is not unreasonable.  Again, it comes back to setting goals, making smart choices, avoiding fatigue, and staying active.  Drinking water is essential to our health.  It helps us to control calories, if we drink more water we feel fuller and will eat a little less.  Water helps us push through those final sets at the gym by providing energy to our muscles and helps replenish the water we loose when we sweat.  I like to put a little amino acids in my water at the gym to help retain muscle mass . Water helps us have clearer skin by flushing out toxins in our body, it helps avoid muscle cramps from dehydration.  Water keeps all things flowing through our bodies and is a large step in becoming a healthier YOU. 

I hope these tips make it a bit easier for you to becoming a healthier YOU this year! I’d love for you to head over to my blog for great workouts and yummy, healthy recipes.

Shannon {Fitness Food Diva}

 

Mommy Tell All Monday: Teaching Your Kids to Give

Christmas is only 10 days away friends! Can you believe it? Sara, our parenting and motherhood contributor, is here today to share her thoughts on Teaching Your Kids to Give. This is something that is near and dear to my heart, and I love that Sara has so many great tips and resources for us in today’s post!

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A few months ago we learned that one of our neighbors was in need of a bed. They have three children, two boys and one girl. The girl being the baby of the family was able to sleep on one bed but the two large boys that are over the age of ten shared the other twin size bed. Here’s the thing, we had a bed that wasn’t being used. It’s the bed that our 14 year old used to sleep on before she moved out. We have sleepovers with her but not often enough where we would need a bed instead of an air mattress.

Before taking the bed to our neighbor’s house we had the conversation with our 16 year old that her sister’s bed was needed elsewhere. This was a hard thing to talk about, fragile that her sister was no longer living with her and also that she hasn’t “owned” much in her life, giving something away was a hard concept. After our discussion, whether she understood why we needed to give a bed to someone who needed it more than us or not, we logically walked it over to our neighbor’s house.

Considering the time she has spent in foster care and various things that she has experienced in life, I did not expect our daughter to grasp the idea that someone might be more in need than she was. But it opened my eyes to the fact that I had to start teaching my children to understand the meaning of giving if I wanted them to become givers. I personally know adults who would give the shirts off their back to people on the street. Even my grandmother once took my dad’s only pair of shoes because a homeless man was barefoot; she knew my dad could afford to buy another pair! I admire the people who have giving hearts, who so naturally consider others’ needs before their own.

I recently found myself walking down the aisles of Target trying to explain to my three and four year old that we are picking out a toy for another child. My son gets whiny and likes to become a noodle that falls to the ground when he’s mad and my daughter just cries out of sadness that the shopping trip isn’t for her. It would be so very easy to just not include them while I’m purchasing a gift for a child in need but I’ve decided it’s a battle I’ll choose. Even at their young and naturally selfish age I want my kids to see what giving looks like. I want them to see that mom can provide for someone else’s tangible needs. I don’t want everything to be about whether you celebrate Christmas or not, blessing someone can happen all year long. Fortunately this time of year provides you with many opportunities to give as organizations are trying to keep people warm and fed. My kids are still very young, especially my one and two year olds, but if our family “adopts” a family each year to bless it will become a tradition to shop for another family. And year after year as my kids practice giving, my prayer is that their desire to give flows over into the rest of the year. Thinking of other’s needs before your own is countercultural, so I know that it’s my responsibility to teach my children to be givers.

Are you thinking about giving something a little extra this season? Maybe you are looking for ways to include your children in a service project? Contact some local homeless shelters or group homes to see how you can serve or what they are in need of this season. Find some churches around you; they are often doing projects that serve people in their community. Talk to the principal of your children’s school to see if there is a family in need that you could be a “Secret Santa” for.

And if you need some other ideas, here are some organizations that do huge Christmas operations:

Food for the hungry

Compassion International

Operation Christmas Child

The Angel Tree for Prison Fellowship

The Salvation Army

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Do you live in Phoenix?

Phoenix Rescue Mission

Phoenix Dream Center

Andre House of Hospitality

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If you’re a Momma like I am I’m sure that putting someone else’s needs before your own is what you do all day every day. You’re already modeling that for your kids, but don’t forget to talk about it as well. We are raising up the next generation, which is kind of a big deal right?!? Let’s turn our little humans into loving, responsible and compassionate adults.

Sara (A Mom’s Battle of the Selfie)

 

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5 Tips to Creating Holiday Cards Stress Free

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is getting our family photos taken and creating Christmas cards to send out to our family and friends. Last year I never got around to this favorite tradition of mine due to the hustle and bustle of running our businesses. This year I was determined to not let out holiday cards slip through the cracks. So today I am sharing 5 Tips to Creating Holiday Cards Stress Free. Because let’s be honest… adding family photos and cards to our already long list can be a bit stressful. It’s an easy one to cross off the list… until now!

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1. Coordinate the family’s outfits.

Pick a color scheme for your family (we chose red, white, black, and grey this year) and then go through your closets and see what you can piece together *before* heading to the store to buy everyone a new outfit. This year the only things I purchased NEW were my daughter’s shirt and shoes. Everything else we owned or borrowed. (I borrowed our cute red mommy and mini scarves from Shop Melissa Kay, my friend’s handmade shop.) The cost to me was less than $20 ($8 for shirt and $10 for shoes). Cutting this part of my budget created less stress for sure.

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2. Pick a location.

You need to choose a location for your family photos. To create less stress, try choosing a location that’s not too terribly far from home. Then you don’t have to worry about rushing around to try to be there on time. You can google good locations nearby OR if you are lucky, one of your blog friends will write up a post with great local locations for family photos. This year we found a cotton field and a wild flower field to take our photos in. SO fun.

 

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3. Take your own photos! 

Lucky for me, my husband is a photographer and has lots of fun equipment. This year we took our own family photos by setting up the tripod and using the timer on the DSLR camera. We had a ton of out takes and my husband did a lot of running between the back of the camera and to his spot with our family before the timer went off, but we got some great shots and lots of memories were made. Some other positives about taking the photos yourself are that you don’t have to worry about making an appointment, you can edit the photos yourself (and as fast as you want), and you save the cost of paying someone. 

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4. Edit those photos right away!

Narrow your options and only edit 1-5 of your favorite photos. That’s really the most you’ll need to create a holiday card. And the sooner you edit your photos, the faster you can get those holiday cards created. I love using Picmonkey to edit my photos. It’s super user-friendly and it’s free to use the basic editing options. Photoshop is a great resource too, but if you don’t have it available, Picmonkey is a great alternative. 

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5. Create your holiday card using Pear Tree Greetings.

This year I used Pear Tree Greetings to create our holiday cards and I kid you not, it took me 15 minutes to do, start to finish. Pear Tree Greetings is SUPER user-friendly. They have tons of options to choose from… postcards, ornament cards, magnet cards, trifold cards, folded cards, and flat cards. You can easily narrow your search using the easy checklist on the Pear Tree Greetings site. Once you pick the card you want, up upload your photos, plug them into the card (simply by dragging them with your curser), and edit the holiday message and family name. Then you are ready to place your order! That simple. And I did it from bed in my jammies. Can I get an Amen?!

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Not only were the cards a quick, easy process, but they arrived in less than 8 business days and look absolutely lovely! We went with the postcard option this year and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Such great quality. My husband is SUPER picky and he loves them too! #winwin ;) And yes I realize some of my Christmas lights are not working. #reallife 

Pear Tree Greetings is giving away a $50 credit to their site f0r one lucky MFTM reader to use towards their holiday cards this year! How awesome is that?! Just fill out the rafflecopter below and the random winner will be selected in 4 days and announced here. Good luck and Merry Christmas my friends!

 
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I received complementary holiday cards for writing this post but all ideas and opinions are 100% my own. I only share ideas and products that I think MFTM readers will love as much as I do!

Mommy Tell All Monday: 6 Health Tips for Mom

Thanks for joining us for Mommy Tell All Monday! Grab your mug of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate and kick your feet up. Sara, our health and fitness contributor, is back today to share 6 health tips for mom during the busy holiday season. I know this is something I definitely need to read!

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You can sense the change in the air. People are busier; the days are going by quicker as are the hours and minutes. We find ourselves rushing to check items off of our to-do list and, if you’re like me, you sit down at the end of the day unable to remember the last time you ate anything. We feel like we are being pulled in a million directions and one of the first things to get tossed aside is the focus on our own health.

Guess what?

That doesn’t benefit anyone, especially not us.

When life gets busy, don’t toss your health aside. How do you expect to be supermom when you’re not functioning at your optimal level?

Here are some helpful tips for when life gets busy:

1. Whatever you do, eat breakfast. 

I know, I know. You’ve got kids to get ready, lunches to pack, babies to tend to, work to rush to, and coffee to make. (Okay, maybe not coffee, but in my world I can’t function until after coffee o’clock.) Quite often, people skip breakfast because it’s inconvenient and/or they ‘aren’t breakfast people.’ Did you know that people who do not eat breakfast are more likely to be overweight/obese versus those who do eat breakfast? Eating breakfast helps to reduce hunger throughout the day and you’re more likely to make better choices throughout the day. There are many easy and on-the-go options to make breakfast more manageable: homemade smoothies, veggie omelet and whole wheat toast, whole grain cereal with fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit, and even a homemade breakfast sandwich (1/2 english muffin, scrambled egg, low-fat cheese, and a tomato). Breakfast really is one of the most important meals of the day.

2. Remember your water.

Not only does water provide hydration to your body, it also helps with hunger. A good tip before eating a meal or when you feel like you’re ‘starving’: drink 1 full glass of water. Not only will you feel refreshed, you will help ease hunger and fill your stomach. I’ve heard people say, “I don’t like the taste of water.” Okay, so, if we are talking actual flavor, water doesn’t have a flavor. (You may prefer one brand to another and I totally get ya on that.) Transform your boring ‘flavorless’ water into fancy water by adding some lemon slices, pieces of fruit, cucumber, or berries. Sweetened beverages deliver an estimated 75 to 150 calories a day; switching the water can save you up to 15 pounds a year!

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{Great recipes for fruit infused water at I Heart Nap Time}

3. Don’t forget your fiber.

By focusing on high-fiber foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains you can help maintain your weight. These types of foods are low in calories, but high in nutrients. High-fiber foods also take time to digest helping you feel fuller longer and easing hunger. I know snacking on carrot sticks and celery isn’t as fun as those chips, crackers, or chocolates, but in the long run you’re body will thank you. When it’s time to eat, go for the veggies first. Having a salad before a meal helps you fill-up on nutrients that help you feel full which then help you eat less at dinner.

4. Grab a plate.

I know your calendar is quickly filling up with holiday parties and family functions. I often find myself saying, ‘Yay, snacks!’ (I love snacks, like way too much). If you’re like me, you might find yourself camping out at the food table, catching up with people and your brain keeps telling you ‘eat all the snacks’. Hanging out near the snack table is quite possibly one of the worst things you can do. (Well, okay, I’m sure there are worse things you could do at a party, but that’s a topic for a totally different post.) When we stand near the snack table we lose count of just how much we’ve consumed therefore, causing us to consume a bucket load more calories than we should have. So, next time you’re at a party, grab a plate. It will help you control how much food you take and how often you go back for seconds. (Or thirds or fifths) You know someone at the party is tracking every morsel you put into your mouth (and wondering how you keep your girlish figure), make sure that someone is you.

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5. Get moving.

When schedules get full fitness is usually the first thing we begin to skip out on. People say, ‘I don’t have to go to the gym’ or ‘I don’t have enough time to workout’. And you know what, that might very well be true. However, you do have time to move. It is recommended that adults get 60 minutes of physical activity everyday. On days you may not have to time to hit the weights or gym there are other things you can do to get your booty moving: park in the farthest spot from the entrance to Target, take the stairs, go for a walk with the family, play with the kids at the park, turn on some tunes and dance while doing laundry (trust me, it helps the task of laundry suck a lot less). One of the best things you can do for yourself on the day of a special event is to get moving first thing in the morning. Physical activity helps to curb appetite caused by boredom, helps you burn calories, reduces stress, and it helps improve your self-esteem.

6. Moderation is key.

When the weather gets cooler (which is never in Arizona, but we like to pretend) one of the first things that comes to my mind is, ‘Pumpkin flavored everything!’ and I’m pretty sure I get more excited about a Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino than the average person should. Not to mention the holiday breads, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cakes, muffins, and eggnog. For me, giving up my favorite ridiculously calorie filled drinks or holiday snack items is not an option, but I also know that I can’t have them everyday. (I don’t even want to know how burpees it takes to work off a cookie from Paradise Bakery.) My motto becomes moderation. In reality, this is my motto year-round. I know when I feel deprived of something ‘good’ I can get grumpy and resentful of that cookie (how dare they taste so good, but be so bad) so enjoying things in moderation is a staple to my healthy life. If I know I want a Frappucino, I make it a special ‘date’ with myself. Seriously, I do. I normally take time every week, grab a drink, and go wander Target by myself enjoying every single calorie. When I know I have a date with my calories later in the week it helps me be more conscious of my food and fitness choices throughout the week. The same thing applies with other functions in the week: date night, parties, football games, etc. If I know something special is coming up and I know I will ‘let loose’ more than normal, I make better choices throughout the week. Unfortunately, it’s not good for our hips or thighs to eat ALL the cookies, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them in moderation with balanced diet. {P.S. A cookie from Paradise Bakery contains upward of 280 calories which equates to approximately 275+ burpees.} 

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Life gets busy.

Life gets hard.

Don’t lose focus on what’s important: you and your health.

Light and Love,

Sara

Mommy Tell All Monday: At Home Pedicure Gift Basket

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Hello friends and welcome to Mommy Tell All Monday… an almost weekly series dedicated to all things motherhood! And today I’m sharing a fun gift that is perfect to give your momma friends. It’s an easy gift to put together and I guarantee they will love it. Check out how I put together this At Home Pedicure Gift Basket, featuring Amopé Pedi Perfect and Amopé Foot Cream.

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As busy mommas, it’s so difficult for us to get away for a relaxing pedicure. I remember the days when I’d get a pedicure every couple of weeks… so spoiled I was and I didn’t even know it! Now I’m lucky enough to get a fresh coat of polish on my toes before hurrying out the door to church. Setting aside 20-30 minutes to myself each week to give myself a pedi after the kids go to bed…that more manageable for me, and probably for my other mom friends too. So I decided to create a gift basket for a momma friend who deserves a little extra TLC. 

For this At Home Pedicure Gift Basket, I purchased all of my supplies at Target. I picked up the basket, cotton balls, nail polish,Amopé Pedi Perfect and Amopé Foot Cream for the gift. I even used the Cartwheel offer (11/2-11/22) and got 10% off of the Amopé Pedi Perfect! Love that app!

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First I emptied the cotton balls into the basket…

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Then I placed all of the pedi supplies in the basket, wedged into the cotton balls. I chose the new Amopé Pedi Perfect and Amopé Foot Cream products for this basket because when paired, they add moisture for even softer, healthier feet. 

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I added scraps of vintage fabric to the handles and created a cute tag to attach with a piece of twine.

You can print off the “I’m Pedi Thankful For You” tags HERE. There are 4 cute options. Please remember all printable freebies are for personal use only. 

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Now that my basket is all put together, it’s ready to bless one of my mommy friends. 

When you head to Target to pick up your own Amopé Pedi Perfect and Amopé Foot Cream products, be sure to do a few things…

-use the Cartwheel deal to get 10% off from 11/2-11/22

-get a $5 Target gift card when you purchase one Pedi Perfect from 11/9-11/22

-shop for these products on the foot care aisle, not the beauty care aisles.

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Can you think of one momma friend who you are {pedi} thankful for? Why not bless her with an At Home Pedicure Gift Basket?!  I know my feet could use a little extra TLC… let’s #RespectUrFeet with Amopé Pedi Perfect and Amopé Foot Cream. 

Thanks for stopping by today friends. I hope you have a great week! 

 

Mommy Tell All Monday: Balancing Holiday Traditions

Hello mommas and welcome to Mommy Tell All Monday! Sara, our parenting and motherhood contributor, is back today and talking about balancing holiday traditions. 

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I love this time of year. The barely cold weather reminds me why I love Arizona, and my kids spend a ton of time outside allowing me to cook dinner in a little window of peace. And then the holidays . . . THE HOLIDAYS! For as long as I can remember the few weeks before Thanksgiving all the way until the New Year has always been filled with some of my favorite family memories. Not because our family was traveling or doing something extra special, but because we had traditions that we did every year. I always knew what to expect each Holiday and there was simply zero stress in what some might call a stressful time of year.

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About nine years ago my husband started to celebrate the holidays with me. It was great, he joined a few of our traditional meals and the church services we were a part of but then he threw me a little of course when he asked me to come over for some of his family traditions. That’s when the stress was added. Early into our marriage we spent the holidays trying to find a rhythm between our two families. I came with three celebrations, immediate family, cousins and dad’s side. He came with a single mom so it was a little easier, but that meant we had a father in law back in Michigan that we would fly out to here and there. Eventually we had to make some sacrifices and even say NO to some of my favorite traditions, but finding a balance with my husband was important to me.

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Jump ahead a few years later and add CHILDREN into the mix. It was all nice and easy the first year with a two month old that we could just carry to each holiday event and family gathering. Then by the time she was one at Thanksgiving we were fostering a brother and sister and then by Christmas that year the other siblings had gone home and we were fostering two brothers. Three kids changes plans. I have found that jumping from house to house with children is super stressful. By the time you pack everything needed, get strapped in, drive, get unstrapped, make their plates, mingle a little while you keeping an eye on them and then go get strapped back in the car to head to the next house . . . it became too much. My husband noticed that even before we left the house I had terrible anxiety about how the day would go. Some of the days that I looked forward to the most had become the ones that I was afraid of.

It was an easy solution. All we needed to do was shift our traditions and agenda again. Except I couldn’t bring myself to adjust things yet, I just didn’t feel like the words tradition and change should even go together. More importantly, I didn’t want to let my Mom down. For my entire life she had built such wonderful traditions for my brother and I and to continue changing those traditions each year felt like I was taking those special expectations away from my her. Except that I was a Momma now too, with my own little family, kids that I needed to start traditions for. I have learned the hard way that if keeping a tradition is more stressful than fun, its not worth it. With new kids added to our family each year over the last four holidays our traditions had to change. When I call my mom each year to talk about what is going to be best for my family and our time, she works with me. It turns out that she doesn’t mind changing the traditions either as long as our family is able to be together at some point. I had to remind myself that I’m the Momma, and she is now Nana, instead of worrying about letting her down (because I won’t) I need to focus on creating stress free traditions for my kids just like she did for me when I was young.

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Are you already planning your Thanksgiving meal? Which house you will celebrate at or if you will have a few meals with people instead of one large one? Have you already purchased some Christmas presents? Do you know what you’ll be doing on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Is it something that YOU want to do or what’s expected of you? Momma, let go of those holiday expectations that are on your shoulders. Make your own expectations for your little family and work the other things around what is best for all of you, your nap times and your drive time. When you say yes because you want to please everyone, you end up with crying kids in the back of your car at the end of the night. Trust me. And if you start to feel bad about changing some traditions, go drink some eggnog. Eggnog makes everything better.

XO

Sara

{A Mom’s Battle of the Selfie}

Mommy Tell All Monday: Party Pressure

Hello mommas and welcome to Mommy Tell All Monday! An *almost* weekly series where we share ALL things MOTHERHOOD. Because let’s face it, motherhood is not easy….but it sure is rewarding! Our parenting and motherhood contributor, Sara, is here to talk about some serious business today, ladies… Party Pressure. Do you ever feel pressured into throwing a Pinterest-style party?! I know I feel weak in the knees for an adorably styled party…but sometimes the stress and the pressure can take out some of the fun. Let’s read what Sara has to say on the topic…

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My husband and I both turned the big 3-0 this year! I’ll never forget the conversation that I had with him six weeks prior to his birthday. We were talking with my sister-in-law and when his approaching celebration was mentioned I asked him what he wanted to do. His response was something similar to “You don’t have anything planned yet? I thought you would throw me a surprise party.” Apparently with a 3 month-old baby and a house full of kids I was expected to plan the party of the year, a fabulous surprise party that included a DJ in our backyard along with everyone we know. I had already disappointed him and we were weeks away!

Now moving on to the children . . .

I have quite the list of birthdays. After my husband kicks us off in April my son Gavin’s birthday is in June, and we have a birthday each month from June until November. It’s pretty overwhelming to plan five birthday parties. If I was sticking to a Pinterest idea and planning crafts for each themed party, I would literally be working on “birthday party projects” for approximately 24 weeks in a row. After each celebration I would move on to projects for the next birthday and it would be this cycle of party prep that would lead me directly into the stress of the holidays.

Sounds exciting huh?

Some women get life from creating and planning parties and I’m just over here trying to keep my head above the water and survive my house. At night when everyone is asleep the last thing that I want to do is start crafting and working.

From 7pm on I actually have time to sit with my husband and watch one of our shows or some nights I enjoy a bath with a magazine. Kudos to the Momma’s who plan amazing parties. Seriously, I love that others love to throw beautiful parties for their kids but I recognize that I am not that mom and I own it. I can’t feel guilty because if I let that guilt get to me I would be constantly working on a party and I’ve made a commitment to looking at the larger picture of where my time is spent.

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My kids will survive a birthday party where the food is not labeled. They won’t remember the fancy way that I set the dishes up; they’ll just want to eat. Sometimes I leave chips in the bag and don’t even pour them into a bowl, crazy right? And who started this party favors craze? I remember the bags that our parents used to stuff with candy and cheap toys and now I have to come up with something really creative that fits with the theme for kids to take when they leave. My solution is happiness; they can take home some happiness from the party they just enjoyed.

Here are some of the ways that I’ve lightened the load on myself for parties in our home:

• I have combined birthdays that were close, my 3 year-old son Gavin and 16 year- old daughter Pima shared a party in July. I know what you’re thinking, “How do you plan a theme for a 3 year-old and 16 year-old?” You don’t. No theme, just a party.

• Our little D just turned 2 and actually shared a celebration with a cousin the same age and even his Nana & Papa. A four-way birthday celebration and there WAS a theme! It was “Pirates” and the kids “treasure hunted” for rocks around the house. It was the most thrilling thing for preschoolers, especially following their papa around who was wearing an eye patch and talking most of the night in his pirate voice.

• We have limited the number of attendees. My husband and I know and LOVE a ton of people. Unfortunately we can’t always invite everyone to parties, but I don’t think feelings have been hurt and if they are I don’t care. I care that my kids have a great time, and I can’t stress over feeding more people than I can afford.

• I’ve never rented something for a party. If we have used bounce houses, they are ones friends own or we have borrowed from our church. Have you ever made a list of items that you needed for a party and then asked friends if they had those items before actually purchasing them? I bet you might find yourself saving some money! Table clothes, serving dishes, drink dispensers, silverware and decorations are all things that I have borrowed for parties before!

• I cut myself some slack when things don’t go the way I planned. I have pinned some crafts or displays before that I’ve wanted to use at parties. If I only got around to making one of the five things that I pinned- I give myself a pat on the back. One is better than none and your guests don’t walk around your party thinking of things that you could have made, they’re enjoying the free drinks and food!

• When my family members or friends offer to bring something to a birthday party I let them. Most often my mom and mother-in-law bring things to pitch in and although I want to do everything on my own I force myself to take their offers because you know what- this Momma doesn’t want to stay up until midnight baking cupcakes.

• If I do have some extra money for the party, I try to choose ONE thing to spend it on. Like I’ll purchase treats instead of baking them. Or I’ll purchase decorations but will make my own food. I might decide to buy invitations and stamps instead of sending out an evite. It all depends on the party and where I’m feeling like that money would be helpful to me at the time.

• Finally, since I have so many kids to cover (and this isn’t for everyone) we don’t do much for our one-year-olds. You can “boo” me if you want to but I just don’t have it in me to create a large celebration for my baby who won’t remember it. Often those parties are for parents and if I’m going to party, it’s going to be over cocktails with friends, not with cake and a bunch of infants. Again, no offense to the parents who have the large bash for the one-year-old, I had one for Brooklyn but now I’m on my fourth one year-old and he will be happy simply having a cupcake over dinner.

Oh my goodness I could go on forever. Our materialistic culture has created an expectation for larger-than-life birthday parties and let me tell you I have been to some and they are amazing! I wish my budget and time allowed me to throw large parties for all of my kids every year, but unfortunately I can’t afford that.

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Even if I could afford it, I think it would add more stress the following year to try to outdo the previous birthday party. It could easily turn into a crazy cycle for me. So for now I stay out of that cycle, I ask for help and put more of my focus into the love that people feel when they walk into my door rather than the expensive food they are tasting or the goodies that they’ll leave with.

PS- A little confession. The picture at the top of this post that includes my husband, son and daughter is from the most expensive party that I’ve ever thrown. However, I had combined Gavin’s second birthday party (of course there wasn’t one for his first) along with his ADOPTION party. So we had a HUGE reason to celebrate.

Adoption is really a gift from God and we were happy to party for that reason! 

 

So, let’ here it. Have you ever felt Party Pressure? Are you aHUGE party thrower, or do you like a small simple party like Sara?